Sometimes we might assume we understand certain passages in the Bible. Maybe it’s a famous or familiar verse. Or maybe we once heard a sermon that gives us confidence we know the meaning of a particular passage of Scripture. But when we look a little deeper, there’s a chance we’ll discover we really don’t understand that section of the Bible at all. We may have embraced a popular interpretation only to find that we’ve taken verses out of context. But God wants us to know what He’s saying in the Bible and not be conned into misinterpreting His word. Welcome to Con-Text, a series that reminds us that some Bible passages can fool even the sincere.

We usually don’t think of falling as a good thing. If you fall, you can hurt yourself. So, when we come across the biblical phrase “fallen from grace,” we rightly assume it’s not a good thing. But what does it mean? When we examine the context of Galatians 5:4 we discover the meaning of this verse and why we should want to avoid falling from grace.

When we study the Bible it’s important to pay attention to the context of the passages we’re looking at. What does the word context mean? What can happen if you ignore the context of passages you read in the Bible? How does the context help you understand the meaning of a Bible verse?
Read Galatians 5:4. Why is this verse sometimes understood to imply the loss of salvation? Is there anything in this verse that would indicate a believer can lose his or her salvation? Take a look at the clear teaching of Scripture on the subject of eternal security (John 5:24, 10:28-29, 6:39-40, Ephesians 1:13-14).
Now look at the overall context of Galatians 5:4 by reading Galatians 5:1-4. What is Paul saying about the Old Testament Law? Look at the broader context by reading Galatians 2:16. What conclusions can you draw about the distinction between Law and grace (see Romans 6:14).
Some people imply that we can’t get saved by keeping the law but that after becoming a Christian, one should obey the law as a means of spiritual transformation and growth. Read Galatians 3:1-5. In light of insights from these verses, what do you think is the role of the Old Testament law in saving you and growing you up as a Christ-follower?
If you have looked at the previous Scripture passages and answered the questions, you’re more informed to interpret Galatians 5:4 correctly. Based on your study of the context, what does it mean to “fall from grace?”